Oil theft: More illegal pipelines uncovered in Delta

Joy Onuorah
Joy Onuorah
An oil wellhead in Ogoniland, Niger delta. Photograph: Amnesty International UK

Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited, an oil pipeline surveillance team hired by the Federal Government to combat crude oil theft, is said to have discovered more illegal crude oil pipelines connected to the Trans Forcados Export Trunkline.

The Punch reported that the newest discoveries by the firm led by High Chief Government Ekpemupolo, also known as Tompolo, came just days after its operatives discovered an illegal four-kilometre pipeline connecting the Trans Escravos line to the sea, according to sources.

This brings the total number of illegal tapping points used by crude oil thieves in Delta and Bayelsa states to 58.

Meanwhile, the newly discovered illegal crude oil pipeline in Delta was connected directly to the sea, according to reports.

Also, the recently discovered illegal pipeline was linked to the 48-inch Trans Forcados Export Trunkline in the Burutu Local Government Area.

One source voiced alarm that the pipeline was located directly behind a military security post less than one kilometre from the Forcados Export terminal in Ogulagha.

According to the source, it was linked to another abandoned pipeline in the area owned by a multinational petroleum company, and it was through this company’s abandoned facility that the oil thieves shipped the crude to the sea for loading and onward movement abroad.

The Forcados terminal is said to have a nameplate capacity of 400,000 barrels per day and receives crude oil from the Forcados Oil Pipeline System, the region’s second-largest pipeline network after the Bonny Oil Pipeline System in the Eastern Niger Delta.

It was further discovered that some international oil companies and Nigerian independents operating in the western Niger Delta, export oil to the Forcados oil terminal.

When contacted, Chief Keston Pondi, Managing Director of Tantita Security Services, told Punch’s correspondent that he was on his way to Oporoza, in Gbaramatu kingdom, “to show the place to NNPC officials.”

“The illegal tappings discovered so far are so much that I cannot just tell you a figure right now. I don’t want to give you the wrong figure.

Only in the western corridor alone, we have discovered so much. Please, give me just a little more time, so I will be able to give you the accurate figure discovered so far, he added”

During an assessment visit, officials from the Nigerian National Petroleum Company discovered that the perpetrators of the latest crime had tapped into Shell’s 48-inch export line, from which crude was illegally funnelled into a waiting vessel, ready for shipping.

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